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The Rebuke of Sam Slick

A presidential charlatan and a gullible citizenry may decide the results of the coming election.

by
David Solway

Bio

October 9, 2012 - 12:07 am
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Add to this collection of all-too ponderables the taxonomic quirks of the Electoral College, which does not necessarily mirror the results of the popular vote or correspond to the number of a state’s congressional representatives, and from which Obama stands to gain even should the tide turn against him. For example, Obama took Pennsylvania in 2008 despite winning only a minority of congressional districts. Altogether, we have a scenario that appears to tilt in the incumbent’s favor.

Nonetheless, like Kimball, former Libertarian VP nominee Wayne Allyn Root, also a successful Vegas oddsmaker, is convinced that Romney will win in a landslide, contending that fewer Hispanic, black, Jewish, youth, and Catholic voters will support Obama this time around. The same is also true, he believes, for small business owners, blue-collar whites, suburban moms, and military veterans. One can only hope the oddsmaker’s accurate record (up to now) will remain unblemished, but the various constituencies I have outlined above would seem to present a major obstacle to his prognostications.

In sum, given the technically defined poor, the very rich, the public unions, government hires, the intellectual and celebrity carriage trade, the liberal misinformed, and the caste of the under-educated, supplemented by a skewed electoral system in which voter turnout is often trumped by party entrenchment, we may well be looking at a second term for arguably the most destructive president in all of American history—the president who has reduced America’s position in the world to a caricature of its former paramount standing and steered his countrymen, like harried bison, to the precipice of bankruptcy.

It should be obvious, then, after nearly four years of gross mismanagement, escalating debt, lack of military resolve, political frivolity, intentionally fomented internal divisiveness, and rampant juridical malfeasance, that the administration of Barack Obama has been an unqualified debacle, and that another four years of the same—or worse—may well put an end to American dominance and solvency. Given the facts of the matter, how anyone in his or her right mind could vote for Obama and his team of incompetents and malefactors to pursue what McCarthy calls “the dismantling of the American order” and lead the nation into a collapsing future defies the rudiments of common sense. For even the poor and the disadvantaged inclined to vote their freebies would find the food stamps, rebates, and entitlements on which they rely worth progressively less as prices inflate—or what amounts to the same thing, as the vaunted American dollar heads in the same deflationary direction as the Argentinian peso.

In The Flight from Truth, French political philosopher Jean-François Revel remarks that “the average human being seeks the truth only after having exhausted all other possibilities.” Obviously, his insight also applies to the average American citizen, except that, judging from the previous election, his or her credulity may be practically insurmountable and not all the possibilities may be exhausted before the boom is lowered. In this connection, I am reminded of a distinctly proleptic passage from Thomas Chandler Haliburton’s 1836 satirical collection The Clockmaker: The Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick of Slicksville, a hilarious portrait of a gullible electorate, which I reproduce in full:

I allot, said Mr. Slick, that the Blue Noses are the most gullible folks on the face of the airth—rigular soft horns, that’s a fact. Politics and such stuff set ‘em a gapin, like children in a chimbly corner listenen to tales of ghosts, Salem witches, and Nova Scotia snow storms; and while they stand starin and yawpin, all eyes and mouth, they get their pockets picked of every cent that’s in ‘em. One candidate chap says, “Feller citizens, this country is goin’ to the dogs hand over hand: look at your rivers, you have no bridges; at your wild lands, you have no roads; at your treasury, you hante got a cent in it; at your markets, thing don’t fetch nothing; at your fish, the Yankees ketch ‘em all. There’s nothing behind you but sufferin, around you but poverty, afore you, but slavery and death. What’s the cause of this unheard of awful state of things, ay, what’s the cause? Why Judges, and Banks, and Lawyers, and great folks, have swallered all the money. They’ve got you down, and they’ll keep you down to all eternity, you and your posteriors arter you. Rise up like men, arouse yourselves like freemen, and elect me to the Legislatur, and I’ll lead on the small but patriotic band, I’ll put the big wigs thro’ their facins, I’ll make ‘em shake in their shoes, I’ll knock off your chains and make you free.” Well, the gooneys fall tu and elect him, and he desarts right away with balls, rifle, powder horn and all. He promised too much.

This is the charlatan, aka Barack Hussein Obama (with a soupçon of Joe Biden), who promised too much and delivered too little, but who may conceivably win the day and the Legislatur. Unless, by some miracle of destiny, a plurality of American citizens (and Electors) awakens to the bitter truth that the man they elected in 2008 to the highest office in the country is a kind of impostor or confidence man whose rhetoric stands in inverse relation to his achievements, a man who obviously does not regard the country he was entrusted to govern as in any way exceptional or lovable, whose wife is on record as saying that the U.S. is “just downright mean,” a man whose antecedents, formative influences, shrouded résumé, and mendacious biography typify him as something of a stranger to the very inheritance he claims to represent. And those who swallow his line, as Slick observes, “expect too much from others, and do too little for themselves.” Even worse, “they think they know everything, but they get gulled from years’ eend to years’ eend.”

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David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, was released by Mantua Books. His latest book is The Boxthorn Tree, published in December 2012. Visit his Website at www.davidsolway.com.
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